Palomar Icon Laser Hair Removal
At the office of Dr. Ken S.Ota, we use the Palomar® ICON optimized pulsed light system, the best in laser aesthetic system technology. The ICON system is extremely unique and effective, in that it provides a customized treatment for each client. There are several different hand pieces which connect to the system, which allow for the most effective treatment of various areas on the body. For example, one hand piece optimizes the treatment efficacy of darker hairs, whereas another hand piece targets finer hair. This flexibility results in a treatment which is highly effective, quick, and most importantly, safe. Since each hand piece is used for a specific purpose, whether we’re targeting a specific area on the body or skin type, the intensity of the treatment can be effectively managed. Also, with its unique and advanced cooling system, the procedure is virtually pain-free with minimal, if any, down-time. And most importantly, the Palomar ICON system’s attributes result in an extremely safe experience. The satisfaction, comfort, and safety of our clients always rank as our top priority.
- 50% overlap technique: our registered nurses utilize a “50% Overlap” technique on all treatments, during which they overlap all laser pulses from pulse-to-pulse, and row-to row by at least 50%. This leads to no “missed spots” or “patchiness”, which patients experience at many other clinics.
- Superior cooling technology: Palomar Medical’s patents on its cooling technology prevent other laser manufacturers from utilizing this powerful, effective cooling platform. During the treatment, the patient’s skin is cooled nano-seconds before delivery of the laser pulse, and nano-seconds after the pulse was been delivered. This allows the intensity of the treatment to be high and effective, while maintaining protection and safety of the skin.
Benefits of the Palomar ICON Machine:
- Superior INTERNAL cooling system results in safer and less painful treatment
- Due to its highly effective cooling system, intensity of the treatment may be increased to allow for strong, effective hair follicle destruction without compromising skin safety
- Ability to customize laser settings in order to target various types of hair
How does Laser Hair Removal work?
We use the latest in laser hair removal technology and the most efficient machine available today. Our laser system filters light at specific wavelengths to effectively target unwanted hair on the body. The light penetrates through the skin and destroys hair follicles under the skin. Our specialized handpieces house a large treatment window, which allows effective and faster coverage on larger areas of the skin.
Laser hair removal works on the premise of the light (of a specific wavelength) being attracted to melanin (compound responsible for pigment in the hair and skin). For a more detailed explanation click here.
How many treatments do I need?
It is very difficult to predict how many treatments a person will need. Generally, it will take on average between 4 and 6 treatments, if not more, in order to “catch” all the hairs in the growth stage. There are 3 main growth cycles of hair, and at any given time, only 20% of the hair on our bodies have hair follicles. Therefore, each laser treatment destroys about 15-20% of the hair in the coverage area. Areas from the neckline up (facial areas) tend to require 6-8 sessions in order to achieve desired results, since hair in this area is finer, and grows faster than hair on the body. Treatment sessions are recommended at 4 week intervals, which is very important for achieving an effective treatment. Staying on the 4-week cycle will increase your chances of “catching” the hairs in the active (destroyable) phase cycle.
*Note: Treatments done on male back areas often take more than 6 sessions to achieve maximum reduction due to the high concentration of testosterone in this treatment area: the expectation for this treatment area is 6-9 sessions.
Does laser hair removal hurt?
The discomfort associated with laser hair removal is minimal and depends on the treatment area. It is less uncomfortable than traditional hair removal methods, such as waxing, plucking, and electrolysis. Some areas can be more sensitive than others, such as underarms and full bikini. This said, our laser provides the latest in laser hair removal technology, and one of the most distinguishable qualities it has is the minimal, sometimes absent, level of pain during treatments. For patients who are highly sensitive to pain, a topical numbing cream (prescription-grade) can be purchased in-office, and applied in-office 30-45 mins before you treatment. Typically, first-time full bikini patients and male patients treating the face (beard) are recommended to select the numbing cream application, at least for their first few sessions.
Am I a good candidate for laser hair removal?
The best candidate for laser hair removal is a patient with pigmented hair (i.e. not white or blonde hairs); furthermore, the coarser and thicker the hair is, the better the results. Since thicker, coarser hair contains a higher concentration of pigment (melanin), the laser is attracted to these hairs more and thus leads to a more intense, and effective treatment. Fitzpatrick skin types I-IV can be treated effectively due to the contrast seen between skin tone and hair color; at Glendale Laser Group, our laser is fully capable of treating skin type VI patients. However, due to the high risk involved with such cases, our policy is such that we can not treat this skin type for laser hair removal. Laser hair removal is contraindicated for patients who: are currently using Accutane, are pregnant or may possibly be pregnant, are currently undergoing chemotherapy, and/or have compromised skin in the treatment area. Please let your RN know about any current health conditions or medications you are taking.
Is laser hair removal permanent?
Laser Hair Removal results in the permanent reduction of unwanted hair. Once you complete your treatment series, any hair follicles which have been destroyed will REMAIN destroyed. However, due to your natural hair growth cycle, new hairs which were not present before treatment may gradually start growing out over the course of the years to come. These unwanted hairs can be treated with the laser as well. Some factors can affect or increase your body’s hair growth, such as imbalance of hormones, medications such as birth control, and even recent changes in your health history, such as pregnancy or meno-pause.
Is laser hair removal safe?
Yes, laser hair removal is completely safe. Our pulsed light system is FDA-approved for the treatment of unwanted hair. The Palomar ICON system is actually an intense pulse light platform, in that it utilizes visible light (vs. laser) to target hair follicles under the skin. The Palomar ICON’s unique cooling system provides an extremely safe and comfortable experience, and allows for superior protection and cooling of the skin. Some patients voice concern over possible cancer effects of laser hair removal technology, and please be assured that IPL technology has never shown to be correlated or linked with any cancer risks. In fact, the Palomar ICON emits light rays from the visible light spectrum (just like the light you see normally), which are not harmful. These rays should not be confused with ULTRAVIOLET rays (those emitted from the sun, for example), which have the potential to cause cancer. There is NO radiation or other harmful effects emitted from the laser, and the rays from the laser do not penetrate beyond your skin layer. In fact, the laser can aid in reducing acne in the skin as it can kill bacteria and other impurities found in the skin.
Pre-treatment “Do’s and Don’ts”
DON’T pluck, wax, or do Epilation (also called “EpiLady”) AT LEAST 3 weeks before your treatment (or anytime in-between treatments). Click Here to ready why.
DON’T use a tanning bed, lay out in the sun, or spray tan AT LEAST 3 weeks prior to your treatment. DON’T use Accutane medication AT LEAST 6 months prior to your treatment. Make sure to consult with you physician prior to stopping/starting any medication(s).
DON’T take Accutane 3 months prior to any laser treatment, or Retin-A at least 30 days prior to your appointment. Please consult your prescribing physician prior to discontinuing any medication.
DO shave ALL of the areas which you would like to get lasered BEFORE you come in for your scheduled appointment. For female facial hair, don’t shave the area in order to prevent unnecessary shaving of “peach-fuzz”. If shaving is necessary, the nurse can do so during your treatment. For male facial hair, have the entire facial area shaved clean prior to treatment.
What to expect during your initial treatment:
> Forms: You are asked to arrive about 15 minutes before your FIRST visit in order to fill out your new patient forms. For all other appointments after your first visit, you can arrive a few minutes before your scheduled visit.
> NUMBING CREAM: If you have elected to have numbing cream, please arrive 30-45 mins prior to your scheduled treatment time for numbing cream application.
> Treatment Room: Your laser treatment will promptly begin at you scheduled appointment time. Once you enter the treatment room, our professional nurse will ask you a couple questions about the areas you would like to treat that day. (Please note that the treatment room is kept at a cool temperature for clinical purposes.) After the nurses assesses your health history and treatment area, you’re all set to start the procedure.
After your laser hair removal treatment:
SPF, SPF, SPF!!!
As always, not just after laser treatments, make sure to continually apply SPF 30 or higher to your face, chest, and hands (these are the most sensitive areas, especially while you’re driving). We carry SkinMedica’s SPF 50+ in our office for purchase, and is a highly recommended product for post-laser treatments (especially for the face).
What will happen to the hair after my treatment?
Once you leave our office, you will be set on a 14-day timeline to see the full results of your treatment. You will notice that the hair has halted growth but has not fallen off yet. Please be patient, because on that 14th magical day, you will notice that the hairs are falling out on their own! It’s true, when you scrub the treatment area after 14 days, you will notice the hairs just coming right out. These are remnants of the dead hairs from your laser treatment. However…. After about 4 weeks, hair regrowth will begin for the untreated hair roots. That is why it is SO IMPORTANT to follow-up your treatments every 4 weeks! This is probably one of the most important parts of the laser hair removal process if you want to get optimal results in the shortest number of visits.
Should I shave or wax between treatments?
You can definitely shave between your treatments, but you CAN NOT WAX, PLUCK, or EPILADY. The growth of many of the hairs from your previous laser treatment has been slowed down or stunted, so you may not have any regrowth before your next session. Again, please don’t think you should wait until the hair grows out and miss the 4-week window. Once the hair has grown out and is visible over the skin, the optimal treatment window has probably passed.